Navigation App Update

Since the demise of Viewranger, I am trialling other apps until I find one I feel happy with. It seems that people are gradually moving over to Outdooractive, although they are asking Viewranger users like myself to waive their right to sue over the loss of their legacy map purchases. I signed this and it is fair to say that I have regretted it ever since, so keep an eye on the sidebar of this blog for changes to my other site links.

I have not done much route recording during the pandemic anyway, except some short strolls around Edinburgh. At present there are over 60 published routes on Outdooractive, arranged into 5 different collections, including Edinburgh, Leith, the Scottish Borders and Northumberland, but I may move to a different app.

Routes.

Seizing the day

Although this continues to be a terrible period for many people, the vaccines and the lockdowns seem to be giving the people in Edinburgh an opportunity to reclaim their city for a while. Last week I realised that I may never see places like the Royal Mile without crowds again, so I have been exploring the old town.

I hope you will enjoy these short walks as the restrictions are lifted from tomorrow. Remember to follow the guidelines and leave no trace.

Rosie 🌹

International Women’s Day

Happy hiking to women walkers on this International Women’s Day 🌹

Rob Roy Way near Aberfoyle, Scotland

Rosie with an i

FYI I am now Rucksack Rosie with an i, rather than Rucksack Rose on all my sites, so the link to my website has changed to rucksackrosie.wordpress.com just because it feels friendlier somehow. I am not a tech specialist but this may mean you will need to refresh your website links. My YouTube site is also now named Rucksack Rosie, although the link to it remains the same. Otherwise I am gradually editing the links in my blog so that they continue to work. If you find any broken links let me know. Thanks very much for your continued company.

Southern Spotlight

The hard winter seems to have brought about a bumper spring with an abundance of wild flowers and sunny days up here. I have spent most of the first part of this fruitful year exploring and revisiting the southern part of Northumberland, including Amble and Rothbury. This part of the county is less familiar to me than North Northumberland where I lived for about nine years. However it has been interesting to get to know the area more, revisit older walks and create new ones.

Amble

Amble is a bit further up the coast on the main bus route from Newcastle to Berwick. It has a reasonable selection of shops, cafes, and facilities, as well as a busy harbour from which there are boat trips to Coquet Island. Amble Ambles features long and short walks and a trip out to Coquet Island.

IMG_6570
Coquet Island, Northumberland seen from the boat.

Amble isn’t very familiar to me so I felt like an explorer trying to create walks with only the maps and local chat to go on. I am not able to write about this area as intimately as a local person can but I have enjoyed learning more about it.

Rothbury

Rothbury is the site of some of my earliest walks as a teenager and one of my early Rucksack Rose trips in 2012. I have a soft spot for the town which benefits from good facilities, a regular bus service and a great path network radiating from the town centre. My aims here were to add a new walk to my Rothbury Rambles page, and to improve the existing photos and videos on a better camera. It has been a pleasure to revisit these walks and I am quite pleased with how much better the page looks.

Across Coquet Valley
Rothbury across the Coquet Valley
Cartington Castle
Cartington Castle, Rothbury, Northumberland

Hopefully it won’t be long before I can get further afield to bring you more walking from this season.

Creating a walk

Having created a long distance route from a map for a challenge event, I was reminded that following pre-existing routes with signs, guides, waymarks, apps and other hikers for company is reassuring and even soporific at times. However as you may know, once you can absorb the information contained in a map, it becomes easier to create a route of your own. If you have ever looked at Foul Weather Alternatives or taken a short cut, then you have created your own walk.

OS Maps

My background has involved following a lot of other people’s routes, and a helpful spell of route checking for the Ramblers. Their training covered areas such as safety, legality, accessibility, topography, themes and focal points on routes. There are then two stages involved in the process of creating a route. One involves looking at the route on your map and in satellite view (which can reveal inaccuracies in the map), and the other is to reccy the route on foot with all these issues in mind.

Harvey Maps

What should a good route involve?

The legality of a route is essential if you are offering it for other people to follow. It is therefore good to familiarise yourself with the symbols which denote what type of track it is; right of way, bridle way etc and any rules and exemptions which apply.

Route signage

Safety is a crucial issue so it is important to be aware of any potential hazards such as river’s in spate, slippery rocks, eroded tracks or obstructions such as fallen trees. You should then try to incorporate these into your route data. 

Fallen tree

In case of access issues and the use of wheeled vehicles, it is helpful to mention any steps or stiles on the route and a note on the condition of the tracks i.e whether they are full of potholes or overgrown.

Boardwalk

Focal Points

The received wisdom when I trained was that a good walk should involve a focal point/s. This could be a view, or historic, natural, sacred, architectural or topographic features in the case of a day hike. In the case of a distance hike there is the opportunity to introduce a theme or feature such as the Pennines (Pennine Way), historic landmarks (Hadrian’s Wall), Abbeys (Borders Abbeys Way) or geographical features such as a river (Speyside Way). A walk could also follow a person’s life (John Muir Trail) or encompass a pilgrimage route (Camino di Santiago).

Steps on St Cuthbert’s Way

Questions

When working from the map, the following questions could be considered when creating a day hike:

  • Are the start and finish accessible?
  • Is the walk is do-able?
  • What are the gradients like?
  • Has it got a gradual start?
  • Does it have variety?
  • Does it include suitable rest places and shelter?
  • Are there any avoidable eyesores?

For a distance hike you could add these questions to your list:

  • How far apart are the resupply points?
  • Where are the water supplies?
  • Is there a variety of accommodation?
  • Is it possible to backpack the route?
  • Are refreshments available?

Summary

This is just a sketch of some of the issues and questions to bear in mind when walking somebody else’s route or creating your own. It can be interesting to evaluate the decisions which have been made for you on pre-existing routes, and to try and improve on them on your own walk. This can become the first step towards creating your own.

With thanks to the Ramblers for the experience, opportunities and training.

Northumberland Routes

As you may know, Northumberland was my previous stomping ground, and I have managed to accumulate a large number of posts, trips and routes in this area (listed under the Northumberland tab).

For those just joining me, there are routes arranged geographically by towns and places including Amble, Bamburgh, Rothbury, Wooler, Breamish Valley and the Farne Islands. There are also routes arranged thematically by their common features such as Roman remains, caves and rock art, waterfalls, castles, coastal and short walks.

I hope you enjoy my blog and all the featured routes.

Happy Hiking to all. Rose 🏕 ⛰ ❤️ 🌹

3 Roman Romps

With the recent opening of The Sill on Hadrian’s Wall, complete with its shiny new Youth Hostel, I decided to put together a collection of day hikes which incorporate some of the excellent Roman sites, such as Housesteads, Vindolanda, Chesters and the Roman Army Museum, along the Northumbrian section of the wall.

Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian’s Wall sites in Northumberland

So, if you enjoy history, archaeology, ancient walls, forts, turrets, milecastles and temples, but don’t have the time to do the complete National Trail, Roman Roaming offers three moderate hikes between 5 and 10 miles long. Together they offer a great introduction to this famous World Heritage Site.

Housesteads
Housesteads Roman Fort

Exploring the coastline

Since I returned to my blog after some time away, I have been trying to improve my videos. To do this I have planned several clusters of walks using my new car club car. A couple of months ago I did 3 walks on the North Northumbrian coast between Holy Island (Lindisfarne) and Berwick upon Tweed in the Northumberland Coast AONB. To be honest it was a disappointing trip because the weather was a mixed bag and the route recording didn’t work well for the routes. However I did the walks anyway, made the videos and uploaded the routes and put it down to experience.

I have finally written them up because they remain beautiful walks, and that is the most important thing in spite of my bad luck on the day. So do take a look at my new Holy Island Holiday page and I hope the sun shines for you if you visit this lovely part of the Northumbrian coast.

Coastline
Coastline Collections: Clockwise from top left – Lindisfarne Castle, Holy Island North Shore, Cocklawburn Beach, Holy Island dune path.

Books, Maps and Digital

The world of routes has become more complex than it used to be. Personally I like to use paperback route books, but I usually read non fiction, adventure and technical books on my e book reader.

Books
Outdoor book and map shelfie

Regarding navigation, I prefer to keep my options open and switch from one method to another, having lost maps and had phone battery run out. I explore maps, route books and apps to get ideas for my walks as well as downloading and recording routes on a navigation app. At times I have relied entirely on GPX routes, but I am finding that maps and books remain important resources for me. I now try to ensure that I have a map and a digital route back up on all walks.

It is a new hybrid world that outdoor users live in now, with proponents of different methods debating which is best.

Berwickshire Coastal Path
Berwickshire Coastal Path route

In acknowledgement of the good use I have put my route books to, I thought I would mention a few of the route books I use as well as the download sites:

Reference Books

  • Townsend, Chris. ‘World Mountain Ranges – Scotland’ Cicerone. 2010
  • ‘The UK Trailwalker’s Handbook’ Eighth Edition. LDWA. 2009

Route Books

Northumberland:

  • Bagshaw, Chris et al. ’50 Walks in Durham and Northumbria’ AA. 2010
  • Baker, Edward. ‘Walking the Cheviots’ Sigma. 1996.
  • Hall, Alan. ‘Walking in Northumberland’ Cicerone. 2010
  • Hallewell, Richard. ‘Short Walks in Northumbria’ The Ramblers. Collins. 2011

Cross Border

  • Brooks and Conduit. ‘Northumberland, The Borders and Hadrian’s Wall’ Pathfinder. 2000.
  • Hall, Alan. ‘The Border Country – A Walker’s Guide’ Cicerone. 2010.

Scotland:

  • Jackson, Peter. ’25 Walks. The Scottish Borders’ Mercat Press. 2009
  • Turnbull, Ronald. ‘Ben Nevis and Glencoe’ Cicerone. 2007
  • Scotways. ‘Scottish Hill Tracks’ Scottish Mountaineering Trust. 2011.

Downloads

My go-to sites for digital downloads are:

  • LDWA website (Long Distance Walkers Association) for long distance walks in Britain (downloads only available to members)
  • Walkhighlands.co.uk for long distance walks and day walks throughout Scotland

Rosie🌹

If you would like to recommend any new or interesting route books, sites, apps or maps, please let me know.

Chesters5
Good paths heading north to Ingram